The Academic Data Science Alliance (ADSA) logo on a background of branded colors and shapes

Do you ever wonder what goes into creating a brand? Here, we walk through our process to discover insights and develop a design system that expresses the personality, approach, and values of an organization.

Where They Were

When they came to us, Academic Data Science Alliance (ADSA) was a brand-new organization that needed help creating a credible brand platform. When we met, they had just “gone public” using basic assets and a one-page website.

Creating a Brand Strategy

We started by uncovering ADSA’s personality, role, approach, goals, and audience needs. With this context, we developed insights that became their foundational brand platform.

2 columns of text defining ADSA's mission and vision
A triangle shape with the following words at each point: Curious, Utilitarian, and Innovative.

Design Strategy

With the brand strategy developed, we moved into visual design. We began with writing experience goals for the brand. We then developed moodboards to help us explore different ways to visualize the experience goals with the client.

A slide entitled "Experience Goals" with various images and the topics "Conceptual," "Style," and "Audience Takeaway"

Design Process

We started with sketching concepts:

Pencil and paper sketches of initial ADSA logo designs

Then, we selected three internally and moved them into the digital design phase, where we explored the logo concept and added typography and the color palette.

3 options for the ADSA logo design for the client to choose from

We presented our work to the client and they chose one mark to advance. We built out the primary brand system first, which consisted of a logo, typography, and color palette.

The full ADSA logo with the full organization title spelled out (Academic Data Science Alliance) and a logo bug with the acronym embedded (ADSA)

Brand Extension Design

Afterwards, we designed various collateral and assets, establishing an extended visual system for the brand, including iconography, website elements, stationery, and more.

10 icon designs for use on the website and a rendering of the front and back of a business card
3 different screenshots of the ADSA website on mobile

We built a brand Style Guide to establish boundaries and guidelines for how to use the brand properly.

48 slides in a grid showcasing the ADSA website style guide

What our client says about us:

“From the very beginning, our interactions with the team at Smith & Connors made it clear that this company is all about the people. We quickly developed a familiarity with everyone on the team, sharing jokes and memes over Slack and email. Our meetings were a joy - whoever says that about web development? Over time, we came to think of your people as our people - this team is part of our organization’s family.

On the technical side, your team has been incredible to work with. We could not have asked for anyone better! The whole team was extremely patient with all of our questions and decision-making while keeping us on task and implementing features that were key to telling our story. You made sure we were happy with the designs and gave us many opportunities to tweak things here and there once we saw the site live. The new site and logo give us a brand identity we can be truly proud of, and our new sub-brand logos give us room to grow.

We also very much appreciated the instant communications through Slack. Truly above and beyond customer service. We can’t say 'thank you' enough!”

– Micaela Parker, Executive Director